Green, Mavs beaten in NBA West battle against Memphis
Minus superstars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, Dallas have fallen below .500 following a 104-88 blowout at home to Western Conference rivals Memphis.
As the race for the NBA playoffs enters its home stretch, Australian Josh Green started and did his best to fill the void on Monday night.
The 22-year-old had 11 points in the first half on 5-of-8 shooting as the Mavericks took a 50-49 lead into halftime.
But an 11-0 run to start the second half saw the Grizzlies, still without their own superstar in Ja Morant, never again headed and going on to improve their record to 41-26.
Green finished with 23 points, five rebounds and seven assists just two days after his 21-point, 10-rebound double-double in the 112-108 loss to the same opposition in Tennessee.
Doncic and Irving sat out a second consecutive game against Memphis, dealing with a left thigh strain and a sore right foot respectively.
Jaden Hardy had a game-high 29 points for Dallas, who dropped to 34-35 for eighth in the West and hanging on to a play-in spot.
Desmond Bane top-scored for the second-ranked Grizzlies with 23 points and rookie David Roddy had 19.
"We've got to play with the cards we had, and we played a good half of basketball with a young backcourt that's learning how to play the NBA game," Dallas coach Jason Kidd said.
"It's just a matter of can we be healthy in time to make a stretch run. And if we're not, that's just the season. No one's dying."
The Milwaukee Bucks remain on the verge of becoming the first team to clinch a playoff berth, with Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring 46 points in a 133-124 win over Sacramento.
Khris Middleton added 31 points for the Bucks, who came into the game needing a win and a Miami loss. They will have to wait for confirmation of their inevitable playoff place, after the Heat came home strong to defeat Utah 119-115.
Aussie Joe Ingles sat out of the game for the Bucks in a bid to manage his knee injury.
Elsewhere, Detroit beat Indiana 117-97, Minnesota thumped Atlanta 136-115 and Golden State overcame Phoenix 123-112.
Houston, tied with Detroit for the NBA's fewest wins, snapped a three-game skid despite allowing Boston's Jaylen Brown to score a season-high 43 points.
Jalen Green scored 28 points and rookie Jabari Smith Jr added 24 as the Rockets triumphed 111-109.